Richland, Michigan - When Hannah Sue Burnett rode Harbour Pilot into the dressage ring as the first of the 14 riders contesting the USEF Pan American Games Mandatory Outing for the 2011 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team she set a mark that couldn't be beat. The Mandatory Outing is being held as part of the Richland Park Horse Trials and CIC3*.
Riding Jacqueline Mars' 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Burnett put in what is now becoming trademark for the 25 year old ride: a very polished effort. Burnett and Harbour Pilot scored 44.6 to leave them two points clear of Kristin Schmolze and Ballylaffin Bracken, whom she owns with her parents Bill and Janet. Shannon Lilly lies 1/10th of a point behind Schmolze on The Lilley Group's Ballygowan Pizzaz.
"It was one of his best tests," said Burnett. "It could have had a little more flash - if I had to be picky. But his trot work was good and I think his canter work was great. The turn on the haunches was good, which I was pleased about because I struggle with that."
Burnett was sixth at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* presented by Bridgestone and was then second with Harbour Pilot in the CCI2* at Bromont in June. 'William' has been extremely competitive as he has risen through the levels; Burnett has ridden him since April of 2010.
"He was great - after a pretty hectic warm-up," said Burnett. "They were running ahead when I got up there... and there was a scratch in front of me, so I got a bit tense and 'William' got tense but David (O'Connor) was there and he helped me through it." An assistant trainer for Karen and David O'Connor, Burnett is building up a string of horses and owners as she evolves into a professional.
Read more about all of the Short-listed riders here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/7500/2011/8/25/mandatory_outing_for_the_2011_land.aspx
Action continues tomorrow at Richland Park but the Mandatory Outing continues on Saturday over the Advanced cross country course, lives scores throughout the week are available here: http://www.evententries.com/livescoring/14784.html
The competition runs Thursday-Sunday, please visit: http://www.richlandpark.com/ for complete information and the link to live scoring.
Photo: Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot Photo: Stockimageservices.com